Louisiana Politics Everyday

Monday, July 9, 2007

Sicko!


If you ask 100 people if our current health care system is broken, 100 people will say "yes." We here at OrN are not looking to defend the status quo, however, it's no surprise that Michael Moore's film, Sicko, does nothing to advance the serious debate. America's king of half-truths and outright lies focuses his newest "mockumentary" on the shortfalls of the American health care system and proposes his novel solution...universal health care (big surprise). Moore continues to rely on emotion over fact and values sensationalism over honest, open dialog.

From the New York Times article, What's Lacking In 'Sicko',

WHEN it comes to economic decisions, there are always trade-offs. Gain one thing and you lose something else. This is particularly true in health care, a market in which a scarce good is ridiculously expensive, but needed by everybody.

The central argument of Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko” — that the cure to the nation’s health care problems is a single-payer system — is hardly novel and is certainly worth consideration, whether or not you agree with it. But in comparing the American system with single-payer plans of other countries —Britain, France, Canada and Cuba — Mr. Moore left out the trade-offs, characterizing those countries as health care paradises.

The elisions have been noticed — and criticism is coming not just from Mr. Moore’s most bellicose and dogmatic detractors.

Kurt Loder, the film critic who is best known as the anchor of “MTV News,” wrote a scathing critique of the film for MTV’s Web site. “ ‘Sicko,’ ” he allowed, “does a real service” in portraying victims of American insurance companies — like the people who died because their only treatment options were deemed “experimental” and therefore not covered.

But the film as a whole, he concluded, is “breathtakingly meretricious,” in large part because of its characterizations of other countries’ health care systems.

When “governments attempt to regulate the balance between a limited supply of health care and an unlimited demand for it, they’re inevitably forced to ration treatment,” Mr. Loder asserted. He ticked off a number of negative anecdotes and statistics to counter the positive ones offered by Mr. Moore. Mr. Loder cited the short film “Dead Meat,” which presents anecdotes of failure in the Canadian single-payer system. In its one-sidedness, “Dead Meat” (available online at onthefencefilms.com) might have made for a nice double feature with “Sicko,” and left moviegoers with a more complete understanding of the complications of deciding on a health care system.

Mr. Moore also decided to ignore or gloss over problems in other countries, like France’s high taxes and Britain’s cash-short hospitals.

This all makes an otherwise “emotionally compelling film not necessarily an intellectually gratifying one,” wrote Darren Barefoot, a Canadian blogger (darrenbarefoot.com).


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